By Mollie Rappe

Thursday, October 27, 2016

CINT manager elected president of Materials Research Society

Seane Hearne

Sandia manager Sean Hearne (1132), who served as acting co-director of the Center of Integrated Nanotechnology (CINT), has been elected president of the Materials Research Society. MRS is an international organization that promotes interdisciplinary materials research with 15,000 members from academia, industry, and national labs.

Sean will serve as vice president beginning in January 2017, transition to president in 2018, and wrap up his three-year term as past president in 2019. Sean concludes his second three-year term as MRS secretary this December.

“It’s a great honor to be elected to represent the international materials community that makes up the society. It’s an opportunity for the national labs to contribute to advancing the needs of the community for collaboration and visibility, both of which are critical components to accelerating new materials development,” says Sean. “Sandia has had a very strong role in the MRS over the decades, and I am honored to be part of that.”

As the society’s 43rd president, Sean will be the fifth MRS president from Sandia — the most from any national lab. Julia Phillips, who served as an acting vice president and chief technology officer for the Labs, was MRS president in 1995.

“Sandia has a long history of engagement with the Materials Research Society, since MRS focuses on many materials topics that are of great interest to the Labs. It is important for Sandia to support the MRS and other professional societies that provide forums for experts to discuss their latest results,” says Julia. “I'm particularly pleased that Sean is continuing in the long line of Sandians who have made significant contributions to the governance of this important organization.”

A need for speed and research with an impact

After being trained as a commercial pilot, Sean went back to school to study physics. While working on his doctorate in solid state physics at Arizona State University, he started at Sandia as a student intern.

Over the years he progressed from a postdoc, LTE, staff member, manager, and earlier this year to acting co-director and senior manager of CINT, which provides free access to world-leading equipment and scientists for researchers advancing the scientific understanding of how to fabricate, characterize, and model nanoscale materials. It is a DOE Office of Basic Energy Science-funded user facility jointly operated with Los Alamos National Laboratory.

There is a natural affinity between CINT and MRS, according to Sean. Both are institutions where people from many disciplines, from biology to metallurgy and everything in between, can collaborate to push the forefront of research. Sean says, “Materials science is a nexus of discovery science with application that can enable a better, more efficient world. Materials are everywhere — everything — and there are incredible opportunities for advancement in areas such as quantum materials and energy generation and storage.”

Though Sean no longer flies, he spends his weekends racing Spec Miata and vintage formula cars and won the 2014 SouthWest MotorSport Spec Miata series championship.